Josef von Sternberg

The Last Command

The Last Command

Emil Jannings won the first best actor Academy Award for his performance as a sympathetic tyrant: an exiled Russian general turned Hollywood extra who lands a role playing a version of his former czarist self, bringing about his emotional downfall. Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command is a brilliantly realized silent melodrama and a witty send-up of the Hollywood machine, featuring virtuoso cinematography, grandly designed sets and effects, and rousing Russian Revolution sequences. Towering above all is the passionate, heartbreaking Jannings, whose portrayal of a man losing his grip on reality is one for the history books.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Two scores, one by Robert Israel and another by Alloy Orchestra
  • New visual essay by film scholar Tag Gallagher

Available In

Collector's Set

3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

DVD Box Set

3 Discs

Ships Jul 12, 2018


Out Of Print

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Two scores, one by Robert Israel and another by Alloy Orchestra
  • New visual essay by film scholar Tag Gallagher
The Last Command
Emil Jannings
Grand Duke Sergius Alexander
Evelyn Brent
William Powell
The Director
Jack Raymond
The Assistant
Nicholas Soussanin
The Adjutant
Michael Visaroff
The Bodyguard
Fritz Feld
A Revolutionist
Josef von Sternberg
Story by
Lajos Biro
John F. Goodrich
Titles by
Herman Mankiewicz
Photographed by
Bert Glennon
William Shea

From The Current

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Oct 29, 2015
Thomson at the New Republic

  Fans of critic David Thomson (whose Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its fifth edition, placed first in Sight & Sound’s 2010 poll of the best, “most inspirational” books about film ever written) should immediately bookmark the N

Jan 25, 2011
The Last Command: Illusions and Delusions

Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command (1928) was first and foremost a star vehicle for Emil Jannings, the internationally known, Swiss-born actor, who had left Germany in October 1926 to work for Paramount Pictures. During his two and a half ye…

By Anton Kaes

Aug 24, 2010
Mit Out Sound, Mit Out Solution

When John Grierson, the Scotsman whose absolute devotion to realism on film—he coined the word documentary and created the National Film Board of Canada—was asked how he’d enjoyed a screening of a now-lost Josef von Sternberg film called The Se

By Guy Maddin

Aug 13, 2010


Hans Dreier

Art Director

One of the most prolific film artists in Hollywood history, the German-born art director Hans Dreier worked on more than five hundred films from 1919 to 1951, amassing twenty-three Academy Award nominations and three Oscars. A student of engineering and architecture, Dreier began his career as an architect for the German government before being hired to design sets for UFA, the home of the German film industry, during the silent era. Like many of his moviemaking countrymen, Dreier eventually moved to Los Angeles, bringing with him all the expressionist tools of his trade—dramatically exaggerated spaces and chiaroscuro—and working closely with cinematographers like Victor Milner and such directors as Josef von Sternberg and Ernst Lubitsch to create vivid visual experiences. Dreier’s astonishingly vast and varied body of work extends from the intense, romantic shadows of early von Sternberg to the psychological grit of Anthony Mann’s American West, with many lighthearted pit stops in between, from Lubitsch's Ruritanian comic-musical landscapes to Preston Sturges’ just-off-center, whacked-out Americana.